Friday 29 June 2012

Cotswold Corker (June 2012)

Went out with Ron on Tuesday for my first cycle this week. We started to Cycle the TTT 20 route but took a detour by-passing Great Alne, headed towards Bealey before taking first right, then re-joining the route in Alcester. A beautiful night for cycling and we even saw some deer. Once home though and the major menace of hay fever kicked in!

This weeks mid-week menace was hay fever! Cycled the same route as yesterday (only without going to Ron's address and without Ron). I think I prefer my original TTT 20 route, as this variation misses out 'John's Hill' (can't remember why it's called that right know, but I know it has reference to John V). This route is a nice alternative though and follows the Bearley road and goes past the 'impassable ford'. This ford has a sign next to it stating 'impassable at all times - this is not true however. Last year, both Ron and I successfully passed this ford on our mountain bikes, others weren't as fortunate. Anyways, completed this particular route on a fine hot night. Returned home and the hay fever kicked in. Grr!

Friday saw me complete another Cotswold Corker audax! This is a 100k, hilly audax scoring 1.75 AAA points around the Cotswolds (as the name suggests). I have completed this event many times now, but this time was perhaps the most special.

Started the Corker in Winchcombe (as opposed to the suggested start in Bishops Cleeve). It had been raining before I reached the start but the sun came out for me. By starting in Winchcombe, Cleeve Hill is the first hill to be conquered. This hill is only slight menace really and is easy to conquer (have climbed this hill successfully on my single speed) and makes a good climb for warm up purposes. After this climb a lovely descent (Gambles Lane 25%) took me to Bishops Cleeve.
Left Bishops Cleeve and headed for the infamous Bushcombe Lane. This hill is the Cotswold Corker! Indeed, the book 'Another 100 greatest cycling climbs' awards this hill 10/10! The website stated 'Several steep, narrow lanes ascend Cleeve Hill ... these are some of the steepest in the Cotswolds. Bushcombe is the steepest... [The] lanes are signposted as 25% - Bushcombe is probably closer to 30% in places ... ascent is 1.95 km long. Over this distance, you climb 157 height meters'. How awesome! More awesome still, is the fact that I conquered this hill without stopping, without walking and without out putting a foot down on the ground. Woo hoo, I conquered this hill for the first time proper! Following this great climb, I was awarded with a super fast descent back into Winchcombe.
From Winchcombe another tough hill was climbed before reaching an info control in Guiting Power. Perhaps the most scenic part of the audax passed from Guiting to the Northleach control. Stopped in Northleach just briefly to purchase water and award myself with a Wispa Gold (using receipt as proof of passage).

Pretty passage took me from Nothleach to the information control in Daglingworth. Prior to reaching the control was nice to see a whole bunch of free range pigs on a farm. After the control was nice to see  a fox just casually strolling across the fields. Perhaps it was Fantastic Mr Fox himself?! These creatures sure beat the road killed deer and badgers I kept whizzing past. Just before I reached the control in Bisley, I thought 'my wife was right'. SJ told me to take my awesome orange rain jacket, I didn't - I took my naff fluorescent one. And it rained, and I got wet. My wife was right!  Dried off in the pub and feasted on a big fat rump steak!

From Bisley more hills took me to Andoversford. Again my wife was right. She predicted there would be floods in places and this section proved her words to be true.

The final section was great. A fast run took me back to the start in Winchcombe generally down hill for the most part. I completed this audax in good time and beat Bushcombe Lane! Oh, the joys of cycling!

Cycled a distance of 100.88k (63 miles) during this Cotswold Corker audax, at an average speed of 11 mph and a maximum speed of 39 mph! Total time spent on the saddle was 5 hours and 34 mins. 

Weekly totals: Cycled a distance of 108 miles.

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